It’s time to dig through your garage and put together a survival kit. Don’t be the guy standing in front of his destroyed house wondering how it all came to pass — be prepared.
One of the best ways to prepare is to make a 72-hour kit. This kit provides the essentials to sustain life for (you guessed it) 72 hours, come what may. Of course, you probably have little time to think about how to make a 72-hour kit, so we are going to walk you through it.
Designate A Bag And Storage Area
When you make a 72-hour kit, buy or set aside a specific bag for it. We recommend backpacks in case you have to evacuate your home . Besides designating a bag, you need to decide where to keep the bag; you must be able to get to it easily and quickly in case of emergency. If you have a family, you’ll probably want a bag for each person strong enough to carry one. It’s very important that your family knows where to find the 72-hour kit and that everyone can get to it easily. Don’t be content to place it somewhere in the garage where it will disappear into the clutter.
Pack Emergency Meals
When getting the food and water for your 72-hour kit, think about what you can prepare without electricity. MREs (meals ready to eat) are good emergency meals. These are what soldiers carry with them and can be purchased online at many food storage sites. They will last up to two years and do not need to be cooked, just warmed up. Other good foods to keep in mind when you make a 72-hour kit are trail mix, protein bars and granola bars.
It is recommended that you have one gallon of water per person. We recommend that you have bottled water and you carry water purification tablets or a filter (or this cool SteriPEN Adventurer), which will allow you to purify a large amount of water without weighing down your pack.
Go Light On Clothing
You most likely will not be able to carry much more than a change of clothes and undergarments, but you will, no doubt, be grateful for the chance to change your clothes if displaced from your home. You will also want a rain poncho and emergency blanket as these can save you from the elements and take very little space. You may also want a tube tent and N95 respirator masks.
Pack Enough Batteries And Light
You will want to have a flashlight, batteries, flares, a 100-hour candle, and waterproof matches. These essentials will provide the light you need. Again, it may be wise to have a few of these items depending on the size of your family.
Get The Right Equipment
It may seem like an old-school technology, but in times of natural disaster, it is highly recommended that you have a radio. Make sure you either have batteries for the radio or you have a hand-crank or solar radio. We also recommend that you have some way to charge your cell phone. There are hand-crank cell phone chargers and solar chargers. Place one in your 72-hour kit just in case. Chances are if things get really bad the cell networks will be down for a time, but the radio will at least provide some information about what’s going on nearby.
Include Personal Supplies And Medication
You will want to bring all the essential toiletries, such as first-aid supplies, toilet paper (you can remove the center roll to use less space), toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, soap, and hand sanitizer. Also, pack any prescription medications you and your family might need as well as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you suffer from allergies, take allergy medication (just remember to check their expiration dates from time to time).
Pack Your Personal Documents And Money
It is recommended that you take copies or originals of the following documents: birth/marriage certificate, wills, passports, important contracts, immunization records, and insurance documents. It is also recommended that you pack a couple of pre-paid phone cards, cash and credit cards.
You should plan on updating your 72-hour kit periodically — at least every six months, if not more often. You’ll want to make sure that the food you’ve packed has not expired. You’ll also want to verify that your documents and credit cards are current.
You have nothing to lose by hoping that the future brings better times, but you have everything to lose by not being prepared. You’ll find that you feel more confident about the future, knowing you’re prepared. After you’ve completed the kit, you may want to work on food storage for your home.